Two problems related to strut tower have been reported for the 2003 Mini Cooper S.
My Mini Cooper S has less than 27,000 miles on it. It has been carefully driven and has sustained no crash damage. Had several warning lights come on the car and had failures with the abs, steering angle sensor, and front wheel sensor. In addition and most importantly, I was told that I had "mushrooming" and cracked front shock tower mounts on both sides of the car, and that alone would cost over $1,400 to repair. I was told that hitting potholes or other road hazards caused this. In addition, the dealer, roadshow Mini in memphis, TN, stated that the shock towers and front bushings were considered wear items, and that they could be redamaged immediately if the car came in contact with another pothole. Additionally, I was told by Mini USA that no engineers or national representatives could be contacted, and that the dealer would handle all questions and concerns. I asked if there were any upgrades and fixes offered by Mini and was told that there were none. However, this problem seems to be fairly common, and there are several aftermarket companies that address this issue,. The service manager at the dealership stated that he sees this problem on 3-4 cars in the shop every month. It appears that this is a design flaw, that there can be strut collapse or suspension failure while driving, and that Mini should have addressed this problem with these cars. For normal driving conditions to have resulted in deformed and cracked strut towers is unacceptable and represents a hazardous situation. I have never owned an automobile that had strut tower failure under normal driving conditions.
After reading internet forums regarding the Mini cooper cars. I learned of a recurring problem with the front strut towers deforming under regular driving conditions. Upon inspection of my own Mini cooper by myself I found that my towers were distorted in a mushrooming of the top sheet metal . I found online the manufacturer of a machined aluminum plate that bolts on top of the tower adding additional strength to the top of the tower. My vehicle did not have cracks in the tower but other people are finding cracks as well as the distortion. I believe that if the tower where to crack completely that the front struts would be forced up and causing the car to loose the ability to control steering.